Marlborough

Marlborough has 20% of New Zealand’s coastline, 75% percent of its wine production – including its world-renowned Sauvignon Blanc – excellent bike trails, awesome walking tracks and an abundance of gourmet food. It offers a fantastic blend of outdoor activities, from relaxed to more adventurous, around its labyrinth of bush-lined peninsulas and bays. Before being whisked away by the rest of the South Island, be sure to explore the lovely Marlborough region.

Cool facts

  • The Mikhail Lermontov, a Russian cruise ship that sank in Port Gore in 1986, is the world’s largest driveable cruise-ship wreck.
  • The small Hector’s dolphin, one of the rarest dolphins in the world, can often be spotted off the Marlborough region’s shores.
  • Havelock is crowned the “green-shelled mussel capital of the world” for its colourful (and tasty) mussels.
  • Marlborough has more than 40 cellar door.

Must do's

  • Bring your own bike or hire one and explore Marlborough wine country. Biking wine tours in the region offer “support vehicles” to pick you up if you get too tipsy or buy more bottles than your pannier can carry.
  • Cruise or kayak the Marlborough Sounds.
  • Discover the native bush and pristine bays on The Queen Charlotte Track.
  • In Havelock, hope aboard a fishing charter where snapper and greenshell mussels are on the menu.

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KEY TOWNS AND REGIONS

Blenheim and Wairau Valley

Blenheim is the biggest town in Marlborough, enjoying one of the sunniest climates in the country.  It is an ideal base for those who want to explore the local wine and food culture.  You’ll also discover evidence of Maori sites and records of the early European whalers through to the colonial settlement of the region beginning around 1840.  Blenheim is the focal point for the Marlborough wine-growing region, with a number of wineries located on the town’s edges and many more just a short drive away. 

Stretching beyond Blenheim and to the nearby town of Renwick, rows and rows of vines are laid out across the stony fertile soils of the Wairau Plains.  You can take one of the numerous guided wine and food trails from Blenheim or Renwick.  Further up the Wairau Valley the vines give way to wide expanses of land and the forest-clad foothills of the Richmond and St Arnaud ranges, offering numerous walking tracks.

Picton and Queen Charlotte Sound

The picturesque port town of Picton is the gateway to the South Island from the Cook Strait ferries.  The town is chock full of unique local artworks and delicately crafted jewellery and pottery amid its many galleries and souvenir gift shops.  Built around a very sheltered harbour, Picton also has an attractive seafront dotted with cafes and restaurants. 

It is also the perfect location to use as a launching pad to experience all that the Queen Charlotte Sound offers. There are nature reserves and a range of local bush walks with varying degrees of difficulty, all offering spectacular views.  Travel by boat to walk the famous Queen Charlotte Track, 71km of spectacular walking tracks stretching from Ship Cove to Anakiwa that traverse historic sites, secluded bays, skyline ridges and coastal bush. 

Havelock, Pelorus and Kenepuru Sound

Located between Picton and Nelson, Havelock is an authentic and historic little fishing port. Once a gold mining settlement, the town has many quaint colonial buildings, which today house boutique galleries and eateries.  Havelock is best known as the Greenshell Mussel Capital of the World.  These delicious shellfish are a product of a thriving local aquaculture industry in the cool, deep waters of Pelorus Sound and Kenepuru Sound. 

Havelock is the perfect starting point for exploring the sounds, as well as the smaller Mahau Sound.  Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve offers easily accessible walking tracks ranging from five minutes to four hours, and the refreshing forest and river scenery is perfect for swimming and fishing.  The popular Pelorus Track, a three to four-day tramp in the Richmond Forest Park, leads up to the Pelorus Valley and over the Bryant Range.

FACT FILE

Getting here and around:

Picton is connected to Wellington via the Cook Strait ferries, most prominently, Interislander and Bluebridge.

The Coastal Pacific train is a scenic rail service between Blenheim and Kaikoura over the summer months.

Marborough Airport is a five minute drive from the city centre.  You can also fly into Koromiki Airport a few minutes out from PIcton.

Regular coach and bus services connect Marlborough to the rest of South Island.  Shuttle service is also available.

Climate:

Spring (Sep-Nov) – warming up with clear days and showers clearing, 8-18°C; Summer (Dec-Feb) – warm and sunny, 21-30°C; Autumn (Mar-May) – cooling down, 8-19°C; Winter (Jun-Aug) – cool temperatures with some rain, 4-15°C.

Marlborough Accommodation

  • Picton Campervan Park

    Picton Campervan Park, Picton Holiday Parks & Camping Grounds

    Closest holiday park to the Interisland ferry and town centre located within attractive landscaped grounds in the heart of Picton. Picton Campervan...

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  • 171 on High Motel

    171 on High Motel, Blenheim Motels & Motor Lodges

    171 on High Motel offers Qualmark 4-star plus and Enviro Silver rated motel accommodation in Blenheim, Marlborough. Accommodation consists of 12...

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  • Picton TOP 10 Holiday Park

    Picton TOP 10 Holiday Park, Picton Holiday Parks & Camping Grounds

    Picton TOP 10 Holiday Park is a Qualmark 5-star Holiday Park. It is in a park-like setting and 1km to the town centre and 2km to the ferry terminal....

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  • Blenheim TOP 10 Holiday Park

    Blenheim TOP 10 Holiday Park, Blenheim Holiday Parks & Camping Grounds

    Blenheim TOP 10 Holiday Park offers Qualmark 4-star plus Holiday Park accommodation in Blenheim. Accommodation comprises of 90 power sites (some all...

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  • The White Morph Heritage Boutique Collection

    The White Morph Heritage Boutique Collection, Kaikoura Motels & Motor Lodges

    The White Morph Inn Luxury Studio Apartments is a Qualmark Self-contained & Serviced 4 & 5-star accommodation in a quiet seaside location in Kaikoura....

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  • Waterfront Motels

    Waterfront Motels, Blenheim Motels & Motor Lodges

    Waterfront Motels offers Qualmark 4-star Motel accommodation in Blenheim, Marlborough. Accommodation includes 12 superior self-contained suites, sleep...

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Marlborough Activites

  • Albatross Encounter

    Albatross Encounter, Kaikoura Family Attractions

    Albatross Encounter is exactly that - a close up 'birds eye' view by boat of the magnificent albatross and many other seabird species found along the...

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  • Dolphin Encounter

    Dolphin Encounter, Kaikoura Family Attractions

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  • Kaikoura Kayaks

    Kaikoura Kayaks, Kaikoura Water Activities

    Say G'day' to the playful NZ fur seals. Watch them dive and manoeuvre around & under your kayak, paddle with them as they swim around hunting for...

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  • Seal Swim Kaikoura

    Seal Swim Kaikoura, Kaikoura Family Attractions

    Swim with wild New Zealand fur seals in the shallow bays of the beautiful Kaikoura Peninsula. Recently listed by Lonely Planet as one of the Top 10...

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